Ad Spot

January 27, 2021

Cal Cunningham concedes to US Sen. Thom Tillis in NC

By GARY D. ROBERTSON

Associated Press

RALEIGH (AP) — Democrat Cal Cunningham conceded to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina on Tuesday, saying “the voters have spoken” and it was clear Tillis had won.

With Cunningham’s concession, all eyes turned to Georgia, where two U.S. Senate runoff races in January are likely to determine the balance of the upper chamber.

With votes still uncounted and the races in North Carolina and Alaska still too early to call Tuesday, the Senate remained tied 48-48. Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan is favored for another term against Al Gross, an independent running as a Democrat. If the Senate ended up tied 50-50, Democratic Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would wield the tiebreaking vote.

Georgia is closely divided, with Democrats making gains on Republicans, fueled by a surge of new voters. But no Democrat has been elected U.S. senator in 20 years.

In North Carolina, Tillis led Cunningham by 94,500 votes, from among more than 5.4 million votes counted so far. Additional absentee and provisional ballots are being counted. Counties finalize their results on Friday.

“I just called Sen. Tillis to congratulate him on winning reelection to a second term in the U.S. Senate and wished him and his family the best in their continued service in the months and years ahead,” Cunningham said. “The voters have spoken and I respect their decision.”

Cunningham accepted defeat after outraising Tillis during what became the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history. All together, the two campaigns and outside groups spent $282 million on the general election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tillis benefited from fallout over a Cunningham sex scandal in the campaign’s final month. Cunningham admitted to a recent extramarital relationship with a public relations consultant. Tillis said Cunningham’s emphasis on his personal story in the campaign made the misconduct a defining issue.

Tillis, 60, a former IBM consultant and state House speaker from the Charlotte suburbs, was one of President Donald Trump’s strongest defenders during impeachment but was criticized by the GOP base last year when he initially took a stance opposite the president on how to fund the border wall. Tillis later changed his mind on the issue.

“This was a hard-fought campaign and I wish nothing but the best to Cal and his family going forward,” Tillis said in a statement. “I am incredibly humbled by the chance to serve the people of North Carolina in the United States Senate for six more years and I pledge to continue keeping my promises and delivering results.”

The race in the presidential battleground state was already being closely watched before word of both Cunningham’s extramarital admission and Tillis’ coronavirus diagnosis upended it in early October.

Tillis tested positive for COVID-19 several days after attending a White House event announcing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Unlike most people at the event, Tillis wore a face mask, but he took it off once indoors. Many attendees — including Trump — later tested positive.

Tillis campaigned on a record of passing Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, confirming conservative judges and helping the country recover from the pandemic. Cunningham, 47, is a Raleigh attorney and U.S. Army Reserve officer.

It was also still too early to call North Carolina’s presidential race and several other statewide races. Trump led President-elect Joe Biden by more than 73,000 votes.

North Carolina counties had yet to process about 27,500 absentee ballots and about 23,000 provisional ballots. In addition, approximately 93,000 voters requested absentee ballots that had not yet been received as of Tuesday afternoon. Ballots postmarked by Election Day can be counted as long as they are received by Thursday.

Comments

Crime

Salisbury man charged in string of gas station robberies

Crime

Blotter: Search warrant produces charges for Salisbury woman

Education

Overton Elementary kicks off kindness challenge with parade

High School

High school soccer: South wins opener against Carson

Local

Rowan Helping Ministries to calculate homeless population

Elections

NC Sen. Jeff Jackson enters US Senate race

News

NC jobless aid office addressing millions of dollars in overpayments

Nation/World

Most in GOP against holding Trump impeachment trial

Coronavirus

Health and Human Services secretary: State will balance limited vaccine supply across counties

Kannapolis

Love appointed captain of Presidents Cup team for 2022

Business

Department store chain Belk filing for bankruptcy

Nation/World

Tornado leaves path of destruction in Alabama, killing one teenager

News

At session start, NC legislators pitch consensus with Cooper

Education

School board receives flood of comments on operations after Knox teacher’s death

Coronavirus

With two reported Tuesday, county averaging more than two COVID-19 deaths per day

Crime

Randolph County deputies cleared in shooting death of Rockwell man

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being reported as ‘suspicious’

News

Duke Energy, NC officials announce coal ash expense deal

Local

Police, firefighters parade for hospital staff

Coronavirus

Demand continues to exceed supply as county shifts to vaccine appointments

Local

‘Uncommonly good man:’ Local appraiser Scott Robinson dies after fall at home

News

Rowan Planning Board settles on screening requirements for solar farms

News

Transition to mass vaccination sites irks NC health systems

Crime

Mississippi sheriff: One dead after Salisbury children left in woods; father sought